Egypt Orders Probe Into Alleged Vote Violations

Protesters run away from tear gas outside of the presidential palace in Cairo, Dec. 4, 2012, during a demonstration against President Mohammed Morsi's power-widening decree.

Protesters run away from tear gas outside of the presidential palace in Cairo, Dec. 4, 2012, during a demonstration against President Mohammed Morsi's power-widening decree.

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The Brotherhood counters that the passage of the constitution will be a much-needed boost for political stability.

Rights groups and opposition say they filed complaints of violations marring the vote, including judges who they intentionally stalled the vote in constituencies anticipated to oppose it. They also say judges, whose supervision is required by law in Egyptian elections, were replaced by court employees in some districts to replace judges who boycotted the vote.

On Tuesday, Egypt's Justice Ministry says it will assign judges to probe allegations of voting violations.

"This is the first time in the history of Egypt that judges are assigned to investigate vote violations," a ministry spokesman said in a presser.

Many top Brotherhood officials have consistently characterized their critics as holdovers from the era of deposed president Hosni Mubarak. Most top judges are Mubarak-era appointees but the National Salvation Front is largely made of the Mubarak-era opposition, and Morsi's critics also include some Islamists.

On Monday, Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court — the country's most prestigious tribunal that is at the center of the Brotherhood's conflict with the judiciary — denounced a statement by a Morsi aide in which it discussed the court under a "campaign" by "anti-revolutionary forces" to "overturn the gains of the revolution" against Mubarak.

Court spokesman Maher Sami accused Essam el-Haddad of "tarnishing" the court's image and criticized him for writing the memo in English.

"The Supreme Constitutional Court is asking why the president's aide chose to address the foreign media," he said. He added el-Haddad aimed at "toppling the court's reputation internationally" and that the "crime of spreading false and provocative news is punishable by law." El-Haddad denied the court's accusations and described them as "baseless."

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